July 22, 2022
Within approximately 3 months of giving birth, some women can experience unexplainable sadness. These depressive-related feelings were not present before giving birth and often times one of the only precipitating events was childbirth. This can be a confusing, complicated, and worrisome experience for all involved. Although the exact etiology of this type of depression isn’t necessarily completely understood some theorize that hormonal changes and shifts “the hormone dump”, those with a predisposition to depression, and family systemic factors can all contribute to this challenging experience. Postpartum depression can be viewed on a spectrum and can include bouts of sadness that last days to weeks, known as the Baby Blues, or in a more intense form that can be classified similarly to clinical depression, known as diagnostic postpartum depression. How long does postpartum depression last? We’ll discuss this further in this post from the Louis Laves-Webb, LCSW, LPC-S’s blog.
Postpartum depression is a long-lasting form of depression that new mothers experience after childbirth. This depressive condition is not an individual “weakness” but simply one of the complications that can come with giving birth. Symptoms of postpartum depression can include severe changes in mood, excessive crying and sadness, withdrawal from family and friends, difficulty bonding with your baby, and fear of not being a good mother to name a few. Postpartum depression and clinical depression often have very similar presentations and symptoms.
Similar to other forms of depression, postpartum depression generally responds well to treatments that can include supportive psychotherapy, possible medication depending on the nursing regimen and taking into consideration of contraindicated medications for nursing and group therapy. Scheduling an appointment with a therapist or counselor that has some experience in working with new mothers who are experiencing depression can be an important step as you adjust to becoming a mother, changes in family dynamics, and reimagine your sense of identity. Therapy should be tailored to your specific circumstances, but it may include some sort of CBT, some strategies and exercises, and narrative or identity therapy.
The duration of Postpartum depression can be difficult to predict. For some, it can last weeks, months, or a year or two. However, postpartum depression generally responds extremely well to treatment and there are several effective treatment options that can severely reduce the amount of time a new mother will have to suffer from postpartum depression.
At Louis-Laves Webb, LCSW, LPC-S & Associates we understand that motherhood can be rich with complicated feelings, sadness, and unexplained grief at times. We specialize in client-centered psychotherapy and have assisted many new mothers with their adjustment to parenthood and have helped many women work through their own postpartum depression. You are not alone if you feel depressed after childbirth. Please contact us online or over the phone for a complimentary consultation.